Shigeru Miyamoto created the character of Mario over 40 years ago, but never imagined he would become the most famous character in video game history. However, Mario is now the star of a new animated film called “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” released by Universal Pictures. The movie is the second attempt to bring Mario to the big screen, following an unsuccessful 1993 live-action movie. To ensure the new movie was true to the Nintendo spirit, Miyamoto himself co-produced it with Chris Meledandri, founder of Illumination. The result is a colorful, action-packed film that appeals to children while also nodding to Nintendo’s nostalgic fanbase.
Miyamoto says the idea for the film emerged from a decade-old shift by Nintendo to make its games more “character-driven.” The new film has had its share of controversy, including debates over Mario’s accent, but Miyamoto hopes it will make fans feel like Mario is a real character. He also suggests that other Nintendo adaptations, such as a “Zelda” film, could be possible in the future.
Nintendo learned from the experience of the 1993 Mario movie that creative control was essential for capturing the essence of their characters on film. Miyamoto was brought on board to ensure that the project stayed true to the spirit of the games. This authenticity is evident in the film’s colorful and frenetic style, which is designed to appeal to children but also includes nods to the games that fans will appreciate. The movie also offers an origin story for the Mario brothers, which is a departure from the games.
Miyamoto explains that the film is part of a broader strategy to make Nintendo’s characters more accessible to non-gamers. This has also led to the development of Nintendo theme parks in Osaka and Los Angeles. For Miyamoto, who is sometimes called the “Steven Spielberg of video games,” producing a Hollywood movie was a new experience. He drew inspiration from Spielberg’s work, particularly the “Indiana Jones” series, which he admires for its creative direction.
The movie features a star-studded cast, with Chris Pratt, Jack Black, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Seth Rogen among the actors lending their voices to the characters. The decision to have Pratt voice Mario in an American accent caused controversy among fans, but Miyamoto believes that the movie captures the essence of the character and will help fans to feel like Mario actually exists.
Looking ahead, Miyamoto says that there are always possibilities for future big-screen adaptations of Nintendo properties, such as a Zelda movie. With the success of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” it seems likely that we will see more Nintendo characters make the leap from the console to the silver screen in the future.